Yana Shenker

@yana-shenker | contributor
Hey all! Dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder(GAD) and depression from an early age, I became obsessed with spreading awareness & educating about the hardships of living with a mental health issue. My definition of happiness is staying in the moment and contributing to the world. -By yana
Yana Shenker

Strategies for Coping With Anxiety

In the recent months, I’ve been really trying to be consciously aware of myself and my environment. Whether it’s watching my thoughts or watching other people’s words, I tap into how specific people and vibes affect my thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I have cleaned up my environment and realized I am in control of what I watch, what I listen to, what I’m reading and who I’m around. By nature, nurture or a little bit of both, I’m prone to anxiety, but I am 100 percent responsible for the content I feed my soul. In the past few months, I disconnected from the belief that anxiety is a huge part of me and I accepted it’s just something that happens to me sometimes . My relationship with anxiety is healthier now. I’m able to understand it, instead of blaming it. I accepted I am in control and I took responsibility for what once were my excuses. It hasn’t all been easy. The negative thoughts, the insecurities, the heart palpitations are all slowly creeping in. Some days are better, some are worse, but I’m smiling through the pain. These are the moments of truth. All the coping skills I have learned and implemented are now being put to the test. So what do I do to stay on point? Some of these things may seem like a long shot and I get it. I used to think these things wouldn’t help until I actually did the work to see for myself. 1. I show gratitude. First thing in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes, as soon as the negative habitual thoughts start making their way into my conscious mind, I grab my journal and get to writing. What am I grateful for? The birds singing outside the window, hugs, freedom, opportunities, warm blankets, my family. I can keep going forever. But it wasn’t always so. When I first started writing down what I am grateful for, I could barely think of one thing. So if you find this to be impossible, don’t give up, the benefits are there. Not only do I show gratitude first thing in the morning, but I make sure I interrupt negative thoughts with showing gratitude. As soon as an intrusive thought makes it’s way in, I start listing all the wonderful things and people I have around me. Then I can watch my negative thoughts begin to deteriorate. 2. I filter my content. I stopped watching TV. That meant no more “Jane the Virgin.” What we watch on TV filters into our subconscious mind and gets stuck. Turn off the shows that give you negative feelings, they are causing more damage than you think. No wonder my anxiety was at its highest during my obsession with shows about serial killers. 3. I control my interactions. Stop hanging out with anyone who gives you negative emotions. Whether it’s a Facebook friend or someone you go out to dinner with, if they’re giving you bad vibes, disconnect. At least for now. Do you and say no if you need to! 4. I meditate daily. Stop what you’re doing and download the Headspace app on your phone immediately! Every morning right before leaving the house, I sit and meditate for 10 minutes. Some mornings it really sucks and I can’t wait for the 10 minutes to be up so I can finally leave the house, but sometimes it’s nice to catch your thoughts. 5. I read books. Before bed, I try to read as much as I can. Honestly, I should be reading more than I do but I am on my way to developing this healthy habit! 6. I listen to podcasts. I like to listen to podcasts, especially when I’m driving. I noticed listening to podcasts lifts my mood and empowers me. If you try this, I believe you will feel much more empowered and less anxious! 7. I’m learning to forgive others. Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it. I make it a priority to send love and positivity to anyone who has ever hurt me. I don’t hold grudges and I understand if someone has hurt me, they are just seeing me as a reflection of themselves. 8. I move. Like Tony Robbins says , “emotions are created by motions.” I’ve committed to going to the gym every week, not for a summer body, but for a healthier mental state. If the gym isn’t your thing, find what is and get to moving! 9. I cry. I love to cry. Crying is my outlet when I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I hop into the shower and allow myself to feel and give attention to the things I’ve been holding inside. 10. I talk it out. Talk out your feelings with a friend, a therapist or me! We care more than you think! 11. I try to be vulnerable. I will forever share my experiences with anxiety publicly because vulnerability is my greatest strength. Thank you for reading and allowing me to be vulnerable with you. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via Nathings.

Yana Shenker

Strategies for Coping With Anxiety

In the recent months, I’ve been really trying to be consciously aware of myself and my environment. Whether it’s watching my thoughts or watching other people’s words, I tap into how specific people and vibes affect my thoughts, beliefs and behaviors. I have cleaned up my environment and realized I am in control of what I watch, what I listen to, what I’m reading and who I’m around. By nature, nurture or a little bit of both, I’m prone to anxiety, but I am 100 percent responsible for the content I feed my soul. In the past few months, I disconnected from the belief that anxiety is a huge part of me and I accepted it’s just something that happens to me sometimes . My relationship with anxiety is healthier now. I’m able to understand it, instead of blaming it. I accepted I am in control and I took responsibility for what once were my excuses. It hasn’t all been easy. The negative thoughts, the insecurities, the heart palpitations are all slowly creeping in. Some days are better, some are worse, but I’m smiling through the pain. These are the moments of truth. All the coping skills I have learned and implemented are now being put to the test. So what do I do to stay on point? Some of these things may seem like a long shot and I get it. I used to think these things wouldn’t help until I actually did the work to see for myself. 1. I show gratitude. First thing in the morning, as soon as I open my eyes, as soon as the negative habitual thoughts start making their way into my conscious mind, I grab my journal and get to writing. What am I grateful for? The birds singing outside the window, hugs, freedom, opportunities, warm blankets, my family. I can keep going forever. But it wasn’t always so. When I first started writing down what I am grateful for, I could barely think of one thing. So if you find this to be impossible, don’t give up, the benefits are there. Not only do I show gratitude first thing in the morning, but I make sure I interrupt negative thoughts with showing gratitude. As soon as an intrusive thought makes it’s way in, I start listing all the wonderful things and people I have around me. Then I can watch my negative thoughts begin to deteriorate. 2. I filter my content. I stopped watching TV. That meant no more “Jane the Virgin.” What we watch on TV filters into our subconscious mind and gets stuck. Turn off the shows that give you negative feelings, they are causing more damage than you think. No wonder my anxiety was at its highest during my obsession with shows about serial killers. 3. I control my interactions. Stop hanging out with anyone who gives you negative emotions. Whether it’s a Facebook friend or someone you go out to dinner with, if they’re giving you bad vibes, disconnect. At least for now. Do you and say no if you need to! 4. I meditate daily. Stop what you’re doing and download the Headspace app on your phone immediately! Every morning right before leaving the house, I sit and meditate for 10 minutes. Some mornings it really sucks and I can’t wait for the 10 minutes to be up so I can finally leave the house, but sometimes it’s nice to catch your thoughts. 5. I read books. Before bed, I try to read as much as I can. Honestly, I should be reading more than I do but I am on my way to developing this healthy habit! 6. I listen to podcasts. I like to listen to podcasts, especially when I’m driving. I noticed listening to podcasts lifts my mood and empowers me. If you try this, I believe you will feel much more empowered and less anxious! 7. I’m learning to forgive others. Be like the flower that gives its fragrance to even the hand that crushes it. I make it a priority to send love and positivity to anyone who has ever hurt me. I don’t hold grudges and I understand if someone has hurt me, they are just seeing me as a reflection of themselves. 8. I move. Like Tony Robbins says , “emotions are created by motions.” I’ve committed to going to the gym every week, not for a summer body, but for a healthier mental state. If the gym isn’t your thing, find what is and get to moving! 9. I cry. I love to cry. Crying is my outlet when I’m overwhelmed with emotions. I hop into the shower and allow myself to feel and give attention to the things I’ve been holding inside. 10. I talk it out. Talk out your feelings with a friend, a therapist or me! We care more than you think! 11. I try to be vulnerable. I will forever share my experiences with anxiety publicly because vulnerability is my greatest strength. Thank you for reading and allowing me to be vulnerable with you. We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here . Thinkstock photo via Nathings.

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana

Yana Shenker

Dealing With Anxiety: What I've Learned

Hello, my name is Anxiety! At 27 years old, I began to live my life for the first time. Everything before this was a blur. Every sight, sound, touch, smell and taste was only something I had heard of. Every experience was mediocre. Life was bland. There was no substance. There was no sense. It’s hard to put these feelings into words, but I will try. The best way I can describe anxiety is going through each day feeling as if you’re under water. Nothing is clear. All of your senses lack functioning. You’re overstimulated, and the only thing you can do is shut down. I cried a lot and it helped a lot. It was my outlet. I allowed myself to feel, to be vulnerable. Anxiety is something that is too familiar to me. Since age 5, it had haunted me. It had controlled me, and it had torn me down more than once. It didn’t come alone. It came hand in hand, like peanut butter and jelly, with depression. Depression. You know that rainy day that feels like it’s never going to end? Your mood is sad. You’re exhausted. You can’t get out of bed? It’s like that, only times 1,000! It’s not just one day, two days or even three. Sometimes, it lasts for months, sometimes years. You start to become a sucky person, flaky, insensitive and just over all a buzz kill. Not yourself. From age 5 to 27, until the day I hit rock bottom and had no other choice but up, anxiety robbed me of my freedom. I’ve been to dark places. Imagine if you must. Never physically hurting myself, but, I’ve sunk into a few deep black holes where scary thoughts laughed at me while I wept. Anxiety disorders are debilitating. No, I couldn’t just stop worrying. No, I couldn’t just relax or just breathe. I couldn’t just get over it. Trust me, I wish I could, but I couldn’t. This is my first but not my last attempt at describing anxiety. My mission is to educate those who are dealing with it and who have loved ones who struggle with it. There is help, and there is hope. I’m so thankful this experience has allowed me to turn my mess into a message. Here’s what I learned to be the do’s and don’t of anxiety: 1. Do speak to someone! Anyone, a friend, a therapist, your significant other or even me! 2. Don’t think it’ll just pass on it’s own. Sometimes we put too much pressure on ourselves, thinking we can fix everything. It’s OK to ask for some help. 3. Do everything possible to try to stay positive. Show gratitude. Show compassion. 4. Don’t compare yourself to others. Not on Facebook. Not on Instagram. Not in the magazines. Not in real life. Trust me! If everyone threw their problems into a pile, then you would act fast to grab yours right back. 5. Do redirect your thoughts. Distract yourself. As soon as a negative thought attacks, be prepared. Think happy. Singing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” works for me! (Judge if you want.) 6. Don’t forget: Out of your vulnerabilities, will come your strength. 7. Do what feels good to you. If you feel like you need to stay in, then decline the invite. 8. Don’t be embarrassed to see a therapist. Here’s a few sentences from a book I read and really found helpful when I was going through my funk: “No study has ever suggested that people in therapy are, on average, more troubled or demoralized than people who are not in therapy. Rather, they tend to be distinguished by the fact that they have chosen to confront the problems of poor self-esteem and inadequate contact with the self. They, thereby, offer us an opportunity to learn of great deal about the psychological condition of the general population.” 9. Don’t forget to be. Be self-aware. Be present. Be yourself. Love,Yana